In our little world, we do a good job of trying to find happiness in the abstract – in the heart, the spirit, the soul. The dreams. But so much happiness can come with what we hold in our hands.
For many in the realm of Charleston tourism, that means grabbing the ropes slung from sails on the boats in the harbor. Or picking up oysters at Pearlz and tipping them back, sipping them as a shooter with pepper vodka, or peeling shrimp boiled with Old Bay seasoning and dipped in cocktail sauce. For many, happiness means slathering sunscreen across arms, leaning back on elbows on a towel on the beach to examine the ocean.
For me, the happiness I found with my hands has always strayed from the traditional Charleston experience. It has meant typing poetry on my laptop at Black Tap Coffee, cupping a tall, cold mocha with my palms. Just out of reach of hot summer beams. No need for sunscreen.
My hands have found happiness with chopsticks at Xiao Bao Biscuit, off the beaten path of downtown and King Street, scurrying their tips through bean broth to grasp a chunk of tofu. Sinking into the spicy, Sichuan bite. My hands have held Portobello mushroom tacos in lettuce wraps under an umbrella in the rain at Taco Boy, a frozen mango margarita not far out of reach. Surrounded by the laughter of friends.
My hands have cupped sunlight as I lay back in the grass at Marion Square among the flocks of college kids, watching someone in headphones moonwalk across the path in a kick of dust before twirling and disappearing in the other direction.
My hands have found happiness holding someone else’s hand on a walk through Mt. Pleasant, pausing at Memorial Waterfront Park, taking in the underbelly of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.
My hands have found happiness on the beach in the dark, combing through sand by the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, its ghostlike beams breaking through the fog, slipping out to the black sea, as if they could touch the moon.